Friday, October 30, 2015

sometimes brotherhood is not really what it is

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initial reviews that came out on the movie Kapatiran were not good.  it was described as a big disappointment, a total waste of one's time and effort, and the film's slot in the festival could have gone to someone else.  so while the director says it is his best film yet, i didn't have high expectations.  however, i graduated from law school and i am a member of a fraternity/sorority so something in me wants it to be good, or at least realistic.

sadly, IT IS NOT.

while i wouldn't say it was a total waste of my time, despite of what i have read, i tried to be objective for the most part.  people can have varying interpretations of one single line so the director's point of view is one of many we can consider and not all of us will agree on a single point every single time.

i haven't been to a law school for over a decade so many things could have changed in the span of ten years.  i have been to two different law schools, spent six years studying and finishing the study of law and while i didn't succeed in becoming a lawyer, i don't believe the film painted an accurate picture of that experience.  for starters, i don't believe you can enter law school without graduating from college.  there is no Math Society in law school. and while there is still some form of public humiliation in the hazing we do, i don't believe hazing to the point of murder is something any of the law students do. anymore. these are already professionals, people who may have already started their own families, not some punks who still want to prove themselves better than others.  the actors are too young to be law students, even for folks who graduated from college and went straight to law school aren't that young.  there were so many scenes from every day life that were put there, and even without any sort of relation (or relevance - that interview with this girl who had spent twelve days in Berlin and felt like she's always belonged there, didn't make sense to me, didn't serve a purpose and only reminded me of those nouveau riche folks who only spent a month in the US who forgot how it is to speak Filipino.  while it's remotely possible to feel trapped in Manila, the traffic is enough to make everyone feel that way, i don't believe everyone here knows everybody. social media is rampant now, but you can still disappear here, if you know how to - i know i do) to the theme of the movie, they would've been connected still, they could've made sense, had there been a story.

that's it, i said it:  there was no fucking story.  it was supposed to show why people join these organizations, especially in law school, despite the fact that fraternities and sororities already have a bad reputation for unnecessary violence in order to prove loyalty.  it did not. it made law school organizations look like a big farce.  there are good sides and bad sides to it.  because of the number of organizations present in a law school, there is a silo mentality, instead of being united to a common goal.  there is rampant drinking and smoking because not being able to memorize all those articles and read all those cases can make you so stressed out.  but we also give back to the community.  we offer legal aid to those who cannot afford it.  some of us who are in government actually do make a difference to try to clean the obnoxious and corrupt system.  not everyone who is a son/daughter of a congressman can get away with doing an illegal u-turn.  some just have to flash their tits.

Kapatiran is not all that bad.  amidst all the scenes they cut and paste together in between hazings and a dark sense of brotherhood are snippets of reality in the Philippines.  much as we like to close our eyes and ignore them, deny their existence, they just won't go away.  they are part of us - a constant reminder of how corrupted everything is but nowhere near is the problem getting solved.

overall, did i like the movie?  i didn't hate it.  i acknowledge the effort that was put into it. the research was flawed and there could've been more work done, a deeper dive, as we BPO folks say, as to the root cause for joining a fraternity/sorority. if there was more to it than what i already know about law schools and fraternities and sororities in law schools, it was not executed well enough to show a great story.  for all its intents and purposes, there was clearly love and effort put into it, but i don't believe it was the director's best effort.  i know so.  i've seen Above the Clouds and that was awesome.